LAFLIN – If you were one of those people who saw your electric rates increase drastically over the winter after you switched companies, you may be in for some money.
The State Attorney General has filed complaints against five alternative electric suppliers.
Part of the penalty could be restitution and refunds for some of the thousands who feel they got ripped off.
Kurt Kienle locked up his home in Laflin, turned the thermostat down, and headed to Florida for a few weeks.
When he returned in March he opened up two months of electric bills.
“And I saw the prices, and I said, `This is not right,” said the retired pharmacist.
Kienly had recently signed up with the alternative energy provider “Pennsylvania Gas and Electric,” for a variable rate program that promised to save him money
For awhile, he said he enjoyed modest savings.
Then he got his winter bills, and the variable rates went up.
February’s bill was $774.
January’s bill was $1,201
Normally Kurt said he paid about $300 a month during the winter.
“This isn`t right. There`s no way,” said Kienle. “Even if we left everything on in the house, I thought, there’s no reason it should be this high.”
Keith filed a complaint with the State Attorney General’s office in March.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane has announced, “We received thousands of complaints from consumers who…were deceived and we are taking those who participated in the deception to task.”
Kane targeted Pennsylvania Gas and Electric, its parent company Energy Service Providers, IDT Energy, Respond Power, Hiko Energy, and Blue Pilot Energy.
The Attorney General wants the state’s Public Utilities Commission to order these companies to pay fines or rebates.
Kane also called for the PUC to consider suspending or revoking these companies’ licenses to do business in Pennsylvania.
“I’m glad that they were found out, so to speak,” said Kienle, who no longer is a customer of Pennsylvania Gas and Electric. “And I feel sorry for a lot of people on fixed incomes who can’t afford this.”
The Attorney General’s office is continuing its investigation, looking at claims from some who say they were signed up by these alternative electric suppliers without their permission.
In the meantime, it’s too soon to tell when and if customers will receive rebates, as the legal action is still in its early stages.